Israel denies rights to Palestinian dissident jailed for 20 months
A young Palestinian man in Israeli detention for a year and eight months in an effort to expel him to Brazil. HaMoked, the Center for the Defense of the Individual, filed an appeal against the detention: Israeli authorities are punishing him for their own failure to legalize his status
On Thursday, HaMoked, the Center for the Defense of the Individual, filed an appeal to the Israeli District Court against the prolonged and arbitrary detention of Maen Abu Hafez, a Palestinian from Jenin who has been held in the Givon prison in Ramla since February 2017.
“There’s no dispute about the fact that Maen has spent his whole life in the Jenin Refugee Camp,” says Advocate Nadia Daqqa, who is representing Maen on behalf of HaMoked. “He has no ties to any other place. Even though Maen meets Israel’s definition of “a resident of the area”, the state views him as an illegal alien in the West Bank.”
Maen was born in Brazil in 1994 to a Palestinian father and a South American mother. His family moved to the West Bank when he was 3, and Maen has since lived in the Jenin Refugee Camp. But Maen has no legal status in the occupied territories. His family unification request has received no response. This is due to Israel’s restrictive policy regarding family unification in the occupied territories: Israel does not approve any such requests, excluding the most exceptional humanitarian cases.
In February 2017, Maen was arrested by Israeli security forces at a mobile checkpoint, and has since been detained as an illegal alien and is designated for expulsion to Brazil. But Maen has no connection to Brazil, which he left as an infant. There is no proof that he has any legal status in Brazil and the Brazilian authorities are, rightly, refusing to take in the young man against his will. Israel has held Maen in detention for the past 20 months in an effort to pressure him to agree to his own deportation.
On Wednesday, HaMoked filed a request to release the young man from custody to the Supervisory Court for Remanded Illegal Aliens. The Court, which for the past 20 months has signed off on the continued detention of Maen each month, once again rejected the request for Maen’s release. The next day, HaMoked appealed to the District Court.
“Israel controls the population registry of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip,” says Advocate Daniel Shenhar, head of HaMoked’s legal department. “It froze the registration of children born overseas and of foreign spouses, leaving thousands to live in the West Bank with no status. Now the Israeli authorities are punishing Maen for their own failure to legalize his status.”
Help us keep Palestinian families together! – HaMoked’s crowd-funding campaign for family unification in the West Bank.